A Kansas Family's Baker Engine

The Life of Baker Number 890


| September/October 2000



Baker No. 890

Baker No. 890; picture taken October 10, 1916. Granddad John Sevart on engine, Great-Granddad J. E. Sevart at front wheel of separator.

A few years ago I sent in some pictures of my great-granddad's (J. E. Sevart) Advance and 16 HP Baker engine number 890 that he bought new in May 1912 in rural St. Paul, Kansas.

This time I've written some history for you about the Baker from stories I remember hearing from relatives.

Dad told me once that Great-Granddad went out to the Wichita Threshermen's Convention, liked how the Baker performed, and ordered a 16 HP with 20" wide rear wheels.

The first story I know of begins about 1927 or 1928 when apparently Great-Granddad didn't need the engine any more (maybe old age). He wanted to give it to my granddad, J.C. Sevart, but J.C. wouldn't take it as he thought that the other brothers would be jealous. Instead, he sold it to a Jim McCardy. (This is another story.)

Jim McCardy spent most of his life drunk, as I'm told. He liked to (as today's kids would say) pop the clutch and pull wheelies.

One time when Jim was threshing, an uncle of mine told him that the old engine was knocking and Jim said to let it knock as long as it's knocking out the dollars. One time he ran the belt off on the inside of the flywheel (guess that's why the clutch arms are welded and the flywheel hub is smashed from a sledge hammer).